You are probably familiar with the idea that transitions may be needed between paragraphs or sections in a paper (see our handout on transitions ). Sometimes they are also helpful within the body of a single paragraph. Within a paragraph, transitions are often single words or short phrases that help to establish relationships between ideas and to create a logical progression of those ideas in a paragraph. This is especially likely to be true within paragraphs that discuss multiple examples. Let’s take a look at a version of our piranha paragraph that uses transitions to orient the reader:
Synopsis: Over the course of one month, students explore the life, times, and legacy of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey in 1923. They assess his actions and develop the ability to evaluate the impact and leadership styles of important historical figures. The project begins with an exploration of the idea of “leadership”, and focuses students on five characteristics that are common to most effective leaders. Groups of students then engage in an in-depth research project about Ataturk, and finish the unit by creating a videotaped interview of Ataturk (who is played by one of the students) using historically accurate scripts and costumes.
It is important to remember that this is a rough sketch by which to write your essays. If your topic is quite complicated, then you may have infinitely more evidentiary paragraphs than three. Furthermore, you can expand your individual themes, as well. You can write two or three paragraphs in support of "theme 1" (or Body Paragraph One). The most important thing to remember here is consistency. If you have two or three paragraphs in support of one piece of evidence, then you should have the same amount of paragraphs in support of all sequential facts.